Athletics & Recreation / News

Volleyballer takes worldly summer job

Alyssa Bonelli worked for the nonprofit Project C.U.R.E. this summer.

Alyssa Bonelli admits her summer routine was a grind — an ultimately fulfilling one, yet a grind nonetheless.

First, before the senior on the DU volleyball team could indulge in workouts with her teammates in preparation for her final season, Bonelli had to go to work.

Except work for a summer intern is unglamorous, demanding and, in Bonelli’s case, financially unrewarding. Yet there are many other types of rewards available in the working world, a lesson Bonelli learned over the summer while serving an internship for Project C.U.R.E.

“It all has been very interesting,” says Bonelli, a Superior, Colo., native who is completing work as a double major in international business and Spanish. “I worked part time, which was great for volleyball. I could work in the morning and then get in my workouts in the afternoon. It was [unpaid], but the people who work there are very motivated. The people there are very passionate about helping others.”

Project C.U.R.E. is an organization that specializes in collecting donated medical supplies and distributing them among needy communities throughout the world.

Bonelli essentially served as the organization’s social media coordinator. In the job she posted pictures of the communities Project C.U.R.E. has touched and searched for possible donors and additional helping hands.

“It has been very rewarding work,” Bonelli says. “The pictures were a big part of it. I go through them and post them on Facebook and stuff like that, showing the pictures of the places they go and the people they help. It is great to see the results of that kind of work. I also would try to reach out to others who might be able to donate or be able to help. It is one thing to be able to donate an MRI machine somewhere, but it doesn’t really help if no one knows how to use it.”

Bonelli’s fulfilling summer work was fitting for an athlete that has displayed steady growth on the court throughout her time at DU.

After fighting for playing time during her first two seasons, Bonelli emerged as a force for the Pioneers last year as a junior, finishing third on the team with 243 kills and ranking second with 76 blocks.

A 6-foot, 1-inch middle blocker, Bonelli also has impressed head coach Beth Kuwata with the leadership role she has embraced in preparation for her final season.

“Alyssa has developed tremendously,” Kuwata says. “I think she would be open in saying she had struggles early on adjusting to the college game. But she has really embraced what is going to happen with her senior year as her last time. She feels responsibility for the team and how the team performs. She has wholeheartedly embraced that role as a leader. She has developed tremendously in her ability to evaluate herself and recognize what she has to do to get better. She has gone above and beyond not only to be a better volleyball player, but a better person, too.”

Bonelli is hoping her experience at Project C.U.R.E. combined with her degree in international business, will lead to intriguing opportunities next year once her time at DU is complete.

In the meantime, Bonelli is focused on making her final season — which also is DU’s final campaign in the Sun Belt Conference — a memorable one.

“I really want to get in there and grind it out in the preseason and really have a big season in the program’s last year in the Sun Belt,” Bonelli says. “Last year we had some injuries, we had a lack of experience. I don’t think we meshed as well as we could have. I’m excited for everyone that is coming back.”

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